An independent investment advisory started by former Merrill Lynch advisers is attracting advisers from other wire houses.

Old Course Investment Partners LLC of Houston, which opened for business seven months ago, plans to double the size of its advisory staff and its assets under management, currently $250 million, in the next 12 months, said Blaine Douglas, one of its managing directors.

It is targeting advisers who are frustrated working at wire houses, as the Old Course founders were.

"We all got to a point where we were no longer seeing the huge advantage or huge differentiator of being at a wire house," Douglas said.

Old Course announced last week that it had hired its ninth adviser, Grace Yung, as a senior vice president. Yung, a certified financial planner, worked for UBS Wealth Management for 15 years and has $50 million of assets under management. She said the ability to offer a broader array of products and services to her clients ultimately led her to leave UBS.

"There are a lot of good investment products and services out there that you can't offer in a wire house," she said. "We were limited to certain companies that were approved by the wire house. There were limitations about software and technology. This channel just offered me the independence for me and my clients."

Douglas said he and a group of seven advisers left Merrill after Bank of America Corp. acquired it because "the bull on our business card was no longer a benefit to our business. We ended up spending a lot of time defending the actions of the firm and that just wasn't helping us develop business."

Over the long term, Old Course wants to continue to add more advisers and assets, Douglas said. "If that means 20 advisers, that is great. If that means 50 advisers, fantastic, but our priority is having a cohesive group of individuals that feed off each other."

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